By John Grey
You tell me you're reading E. M. Forster.
You say it proudly like you once bragged
how you spent the month of August
curled up on the beach with T. S. Eliot.
Terrific suntan. Tenacious sand-flies.
It must be the initials that do it for you.
From now on, I should be J. A. Grey.
Jocular artiste. Journeyman actor.
And then you start explaining the plot to me
as if the plot by authors without Christian names
matters one whit in the scheme of things.
You're talking to a man who once ploughed through
"The Sleep Of Reason" by C. P. Snow.
Complex plotline. Constant perplexity.
But on and on you go,
like the book is last night's episode of CSI.
Rickie marries Agnes whose fiance
was killed playing football.
Bad move apparently.
She gives new meaning to the word "shrew".
And the Rickie's accidentally killed
trying to rescue his half-brother Stephen...
you remember Stephen.
You lose me somewhere between
Stephen's drinking and Agnes's shrieking.
For the rest of the story,
I'm playing, in my
a game of my own invention.
What does the E. M. in E. M. Forster stand for?
Endless Misogyny? Educated Monotony?
Egghead Misanthropy? Episodic Morbidity?
Anyway, at the exact moment you're
exposing me to the ending machinations.
the telephone rings.
It's Rita. She wants my opinion
on "Charlotte's Web" by E. B. White
as suitable reading material for her child.
"Excellent book," I tell her.
John Grey, a Rhode Island-based poet, is a frequent contributor to MyStoryLives.